Monday, October 12, 2009

DC - the equality march

I've heard from friends in Europe that yesterday's Equality March in DC got lots of coverage. Not sure how much we got here at home, but the thing was huge! I ran into so many people I knew, I caught up with friends who came all the way from Arizona, California, and Wyoming. Even the Screen Actors Guild was marching!

On Saturday night, I went out to a club that ended up being some kind of big bear party (?) The music was great, and even Lady Gaga appeared on a balcony at one point, bobbing around in her blonde weave and John Lennon glasses. She was also at the march, a very vocal supporter! One thing I kept noticing over and over was that this really was about "equality" and not just one aspect, like marriage. I also noticed more (and have been noticing more over the years) straight supporters. People with signs like, "Proud to be an ally" or "I won't get married until you can."

I was shooting video for, so I didn't get a lot of photos. Sorry!
Our Nobel Peace-Prize winning President gave another mesmerizing speech at the HRC gala the night before. How many times can he give a speech? How many times are we placated with a speech not followed up with hard action? I heard a very apt quote from someone in DC who told me something along the lines of, "The mark of a successful politician is the ability to disappoint their supporters at a rate they can absorb."

Oh, and did you hear what Barney Frank had to say? While I have my own doubts as to the real efficacy of demonstrations, he said it was a waste of time and that we should be lobbying our lawmakers instead. He said our march was only "putting pressure on the grass." Ha!

The march was more than a couple of miles, which is not recommended in cowboy boots!

My favorite sign had to be this one:
Show me some full federal! We passed right by the White House.
I'm not sure why the organizers couldn't organize to have us on the mall, but we ended instead at the capitol steps. There's only so much screaming from a podium I can cope with, but I did hear many of the speakers. One of which, Judy Shephard, echoed Barney Frank in saying that the President can't do this alone. The only difference is, she's doing both! Why can't we all show solidarity in a march, as well as pressure our lawmakers? Here's how:

Legislation has been introduced now to repeal DOMA, and also they're still trying to pass ENDA, which would make it illegal to fire someone because of their sexuality, and/or gender identity. Call the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, give the operator your zip code and ask to be connected to your Representative. Then leave a message with your name, city, and say that you support the ENDA bill and why, and that you'd like to see DOMA repealed and why. Go on, do it!

Afterward, we went up to the deck of the W hotel with my friends Mich, Stephen, Bam and Cooldan for drinks and some incredible views of the city.

Obama lives right over there!


Tony said...

Hey Jesse -

Glad you guys went down for the march. I saw some of it on live on CNN. Will follow your advice and contact my Congressman despite the fact that he is a conservative and the House Republican Whip, Eric Cantor. Couldn't hurt, even though it may fall on deaf ears.

Tony said...

Hey Jesse -

Add on to previous comment:

I emailed my Congressman (Conservative House Republican Whip, Eric Cantor) as follows:

I write to urge your support for HR2981 which as you know extends the protection of ENDA to gay and transgender persons. There is simply no legitimate governmental purpose served by denying these groups of citizens the equal protection of the law. I'll be interested in seeing how you cast your vote on the bill.

Sincerely yours,

I write to urge your favorable consideration of HR 3567, The Respect For Marriage
Act, which is under consideration in the House Judiciary Commitee of which you are a member. The act grants Federal recognition to any individual's marriage valid under State law, including same-sex marriages, thus repealing the provision of DOMA which prohibits such recognition.
It is a settled judicial principal that a particular group cannot be excepted from rights and protections granted to all citizens unless it has a "rational relation" to a legitimate governmental purpose.
Since the passage of DOMA in 1996, divorce rates have not declined appreciably, nor has the number of teen-age unwed pregnancies, and the number of unmarried opposite-sex couples living together has actually gone up, at least in Virginia, according to census data.
Since DOMA has clearly failed to reverse these trends and "protect marriage," the prohibition on Federal recognition of same-sex marriages is clearly irrational and should be repealed by passage of HR 3567.
I hope you will act accordingly.


rebekka said...

It's just so odd - one has to be somewhat grateful what is possible in ones country. In Switzerland, gay marriage is official nationally since 2007, but there is a lot of discrimination left, like a ban on adoption for gay couples. "Equaling" this out on the straight side, there is a ton of discrimination against women (esp. mothers) and ageism.

Don said...

Thanks for sharing the photos and your views with us. We just have to keep pushing.